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Offline wils0646  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 11:53:05 AM(UTC)
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Joined: 12/15/2006(UTC)
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Notes: Playing starring role
Collins a rare talent, Butler says
Posted: Oct. 21, 2008

Green Bay - LeRoy Butler, one of the two greatest safeties in the Green Bay Packers' history, has seen enough from Nick Collins after seven games to know where he'll be headed come February.

"I think he'll make the Pro Bowl this year," Butler said Tuesday. "And that will make me very happy."

Collins is tied for the National Football League lead in interceptions with four, one more than any other safety. His 171 return yards, which include touchdowns of 42 and 62 yards, lead the NFL.

"This guy went from a good safety to a great safety in the matter of one off-season," Butler said. "Nobody is playing better than him. The reason why I'm most proud of him is because I know people gave him a lot of flak because he didn't do what I did."

Butler has paid close attention to Collins' career. He took a personal interest in his development, and they have talked many times over the last four years.

They both were second-round draft choices, Butler in 1990 and Collins in 2005, and both went to high school in Florida, Butler at Jacksonville Lee and Collins at Cross City Dixie County.

Not only that but Collins also was the first player to be issued Butler's No. 36 jersey. Butler was forced to retire in July 2002 because of a shoulder injury.

"There's no other guy I'd rather have wearing it than him," Butler said. "I'm hoping he can duplicate everything I ever did."

At the invitation of general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy, Butler has watched several home games from the bench area during Collins' career. He was there Sunday when he saw Collins break up a long pass for wide receiver Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts that "blew my mind," according to Butler.

"That play impressed me more than any play I saw in the whole game Sunday," Butler said. "I don't think I ever played with a guy who could have made that play. I don't think I could have."

Midway through the third quarter, Peyton Manning gunned a perfect pass that seemed destined to be caught by Harrison at the goal line behind cornerback Will Blackmon for a 27-yard touchdown.

Playing the near hashmark in a two-safety look, Collins had Reggie Wayne racing down the seam straight at him with Charles Woodson in tight trail coverage. To Collins' left, Harrison had beaten Blackmon and was sprinting toward the end zone.

"As a safety you try to scan the entire field," Butler said. "In my peripheral vision, I see Marvin breaking past Blackmon. 'I gotta go now. I gotta go. I've got to commit over there to break this ball up.'

"A lot of safeties would have stood on their hash, got a late break or broke too flat. And the ball would have gone right over their head and it would have been a touchdown."

Collins bolted over, leaped high into the air near the 7 and deflected the ball just enough so it couldn't be caught.

After the game, Collins actually called it an "average break" and said if he had angled back toward the 5, he could have intercepted.

"In a perfect world, you want to take all these angles," Butler said. "But he did the most unselfish thing he's done. He went up there and knocked the ball down. Had he tried to extend himself to intercept it, and it had gone through his hands or over his hands and the guy scored, he would never forgive himself.

[size=18]"Now Darren Sharper, in his prime, used to miss a lot of balls because he wanted the interception and the guy would score. Sharper would have been shallow and gone for the pick. If he missed the pick, touchdown.[/size]

"I just want people to realize how good that play really was. He came from nowhere. Peyton thought it was a touchdown."

Why wouldn't Butler have been able to defend that pass in his prime?

"The speed and the anticipation," he said. "He's a lot faster than I was. I hated to vacate that middle, but he left the middle in a hurry. His decision-making is better than mine."

Butler said he doubted Collins would have broken it up in the past three seasons.

The Packers haven't had a Pro Bowl safety since Sharper in 2002, and Collins is eager to be the next.

"That's a goal of mine," Collins said. "It'd be great. But I'm just here to play football and help this team win the best way I can."

On the way
McCarthy's wife, Jessica, had a doctor's appointment Tuesday and the birth of their first child appears imminent.

"She's close," McCarthy said last week. "She's ready. I'm ready. I just want to see her."

No decision
For almost 2 seasons, A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett have been the linebackers in the nickel defense. But Hawk, who perhaps wasn't 100% with a groin injury, sat out Sunday in favor of Brandon Chillar, who drew praise from the coaches.

On Monday, McCarthy wouldn't say whether Hawk would be back in the nickel for the next game.

"Those are good problems to have," McCarthy said. "I think in hindsight it was a good move that A.J. didn't have to play as much this week. He has a chance to get healthy. We don't just have 11 starters."
Offline Packers_Finland  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 12:22:31 PM(UTC)
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Collins is Pro Bowl-bound this year. Be sure to vote him. I'd didn't see the play Butler talked about because I didn't see the game. But I'd love to see it somewhere though. Maybe I gotta go check out Z2C's highlights -> goes there now.
Offline obi1  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 12:56:40 PM(UTC)
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Great article but isn't Leroy off a little? I thought Leroy played Strong Safety.

As I remember, Collins was supposed to be Sharper's replacement which he is, and much better than him.

Butler's lament with Sharper goes back to 1998 playoff game against San Francisco when TO caught the TD pass that won the game for the niners.

His words "Eugene Robinson would have made that play..." was a shot at Sharper's slow reaction to get there and a dejection that Robinson was not kept after the 97 season.
Offline MassPackersFan  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:07:30 PM(UTC)
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I refuse to believe that play existed. Rice fumbled and we recovered the ball. We ended up winning the game.
Offline obi1  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:13:48 PM(UTC)
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" said: Go to Quoted Post
I refuse to believe that play existed. Rice fumbled and we recovered the ball. We ended up winning the game.

Yeah I know!

I have replayed that game on my VCR and particularly THAT part where Rice fumbled so much that I think that part of the tape has worn out...

I wonder if Hochuli was the one that blew the call?..Just kidding
Offline bakler5  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:14:49 PM(UTC)
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Joined: 8/8/2008(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
I refuse to believe that play existed. Rice fumbled and we recovered the ball. We ended up winning the game.

Yea in my eyes we won the Super Bowl that year.
Offline bigfog  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:17:31 PM(UTC)
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Joined: 8/8/2008(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
I refuse to believe that play existed. Rice fumbled and we recovered the ball. We ended up winning the game.

I remember watching that and being so pissed off that I whipped my Packer cap into the nearest wall and didn't pick it up for months.
Offline McPack  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:30:56 PM(UTC)
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Damn! Why did you have to bring up the Rice fumble? Now that will be playing over and over in my head all day, like a bad Carpenters song. Or "Muskrat Love." Or anything by the BeeGees. :(
Offline gbpfan  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:44:31 PM(UTC)
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i like collins think is pro bowl bound :icon_smile:
Offline zombieslayer  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:44:37 PM(UTC)
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"I think he'll make the Pro Bowl this year," Butler said Tuesday. "And that will make me very happy."

It would make me very happy too. I predicted Bigby makes the Pro Bowl and Rouse replaces Collins after the bye week. Wrong on both counts, but very happy with how Collins turned out. Of course Atari's still a stud, he's just hurt.
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